Saturday, December 8, 2018

Christmas market in the country

There was fog this morning that left the trees along the highways frost covered. I took the picture as we were driving out of the city to reach the farm where the winter market was being held.

The temperature was still in the teens when we arrived. I don’t think Eve and Mica were thrilled with the landscape. We parked in a field, waited in a long line to buy a ticket and then were left to wander as we like. The owners had spread hay between buildings to keep the packed snow from becoming too slick to walk on. In places the hay was thick and clumped and could trip you if you weren’t paying attention. I wore snow boots for warmth and was able to walk through it with no problem but Eve had a little trouble with the boots she was wearing.

The vendors were split between different buildings. The website said the buildings were heated, and they were by giant heaters that were about the size of a trash can and looked like jet engines. The heat only dispersed so far, so sometimes it was cold enough for a coat and other times it was too warm. The buildings became too crowded and the only place to sit was in a building with only one heater and lots of gaps in the siding. So, not ideal conditions. Since it was my idea that we three do this, I felt responsible.

I think I mentioned that I have a friend who is a vendor. She and I worked together when we were both just out of college. She has since started her own business and makes a living selling at these events. A month or so ago she posted on Facebook that she had been given an enormous amount of photos, letters and other memorabilia dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. I left a comment about how that would be a dream come true for me. There is little I love more than a collection of letters and photos, especially from that period. Recognizing a kindred spirit in me, she sent an IM and told me more about the collection. It had belonged to a family that had lived in a small town in the corner of the state. That town happened to be where my mom grew up. Learning that, my friend offered to pass to me whatever she didn’t keep. And that’s how I came home with two boxes filled with letters and other bits of history related to the town and the S. family.

It was an S. family member who gave my friend all this stuff. The family had gone through it and pulled out what they wanted. Everything else was going to the trash, only it ended up going to my friend and now to me. I feel better about having it since I know it came from the family. Too often this sort of information is stolen out of houses in the country. I know because I purchased a bunch of stuff off Ebay that had been stolen from an uncle’s house. I paid a premium just to get it back.
Anyway, I would have found the letters and photos interesting regardless of who they belonged to but the fact that this man and my mom crossed paths makes it more interesting. I think he was about five years older than Mom so they may not have been friends but certainly would have known one another. I don’t expect that Mom’s name--or those of her siblings--will appear in the letters, but you never know. I’m certain the story that unfolds will be interesting. Unlike in my family where all the wartime letters are filled with weather reports and whining that there isn’t anything to write about, these people shared information with one another.

I’m trying to leave the boxes alone until after Christmas. I’m taking a week of vacation between Christmas and New Years and will dig into them then. Probably. Blaine is taking that week and the one before off so maybe we’ll do some things together and I won't have time.

Besides those boxes, I bought a stack of publications similar to the Kitchen Klatter magazines I mentioned earlier. These have a different name but are essentially the same thing. The Kitchen Klatter grew out of a radio program aimed at housewives. It’s possible these I just bought did too, only from another radio station. I’ll research that one of these days.

The one thing I really wanted to buy today wasn’t available in the size I needed. It was a kids t-shirt that said “Grandpa and I got into trouble today.” Oh, how I wanted it for Eli. They had sold out of the smaller sizes though.

By the time we arrived home, the little white dog had gone a very long time alone. I let him out to the back yard right away and then we took him to dog park. There was only one small dog there and she wasn’t interested in playing, so I chased the little white dog around for a little while. The sun was setting and it was too cold to stay long.

I ran home and got into an extra steamy shower to warm up before I went to Blaine’s for the rest of the evening. I was so pathetically tired. It was all I could do to stay upright on the couch. The fireplace was on, the icy Diet Coke he poured for me had a smidge of black rum in it, and all the Christmas lights lit an otherwise dark room. It was a lovely end to a long, cold day.


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